Identifying Therapeutic Targets for Heart Valve Defects

Identifying Therapeutic Targets for Heart Valve Defects

The aortic valve keeps blood flowing in the proper direction through the heart. By altering how blood flows through the heart and rest of the body, congenital aortic valve can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and sudden cardiac arrest.

Bin Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., and Deyou Zheng, Ph.D., have received a four-year, $2.8 million National Institutes of Health grant to study the molecular signals that shape the aortic valve’s formation during development. Dr. Zhou’s laboratory has generated two mouse models of the most common congenital heart defect: bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), which affects approximately 2% of the general population and in which the valve has just two leaflets instead of the normal three. By comparing the distinct signaling defects observed in BAV mice with signaling that controls valve formation in normal mice, the researchers hope to develop strategies for treating people who have congenital aortic valve disease.

Dr. Zhou is professor of genetics, of pediatrics, and of medicine at Einstein. Dr. Zheng is professor of bioinformatics, in the department of genetics, as well as professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein.

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